|Or you could have a real life!|
There is a show on TV, “Extreme Couponing.” They follow genius shoppers who collect coupons, double check for special sales and double coupon days and demonstrate how they can save money.
It seems too good to be true. Imagine going to the supermarket and buying over $600 worth of product and spending under $10. Unbelievable, and yet that is what they do. They brag about their savings, and are smug about their thrift and ability.
This is a sickness. These people spend a good part of their day, every day scouring newspapers and magazines for coupons, then looking for specials at all the neighboring supermarkets, and planning their shopping trip like Bill Belichick plans the Super Bowl. They argue with store owners and employees and tie up a checkout counter for over an hour.
Is it worth it? First of all, the money saved comes at a labor cost. The time they spend collecting coupons figured at minimum wage probably equals about $350, so their $590 saving is really only $140.
Furthermore, the way these people save huge sums is purchasing in quantities they will never use. They use up valuable storage in their home stocking their hard-won bounty. However, most of what they purchase has a limited shelf life. I’ve found that pasta goes bad in a year if not stored correctly, dry cereal tastes funky if it sits too long, and once you’ve bought 200 tubes of toothpaste, you are set for life, and then some.
OK, the coupon collecting is more of a hobby than labor, but at what real cost?
I knew a coupon collector at work years ago. He was late for work almost every day picking through the trash outside the office searching through all the commuter tossed papers. He almost got fired several times because of his lateness and he got lower raises and no promotions because of this “Hobby.”
I seriously hate coupons. The expense of printing them and then processing them is crazy. It must result in higher prices for many items at the store. Why can’t they just lower the price of items they want to get people to try?